I talked with a friend today who is an avid vegetable gardener and his excitement was infectious. He shared the names of various seeds and plants he already has in the ground, and it was obvious how excited he was about the harvest of corn, tomatoes, arugula, and other assorted vegetables he would be enjoying later in the summer.

My friend’s excitement got me thinking metaphorically about what it is I want to harvest this summer. The answer to that question will guide what it is I need to be planting right now. One thing I know I want to grow this summer is a little more work/life balance. So now I need to plant the seeds of spending more relaxed time with family and friends, taking long walks with my wife, spending more time riding my bike, setting aside time to play the piano, and also setting aside a few days for fishing. If I follow through and truly plant these seeds now, I will be able to enjoy a harvest of a renewed and refreshed spirit by the end of summer.

I also spoke with a group of parents this week and several of them were worried that they had over-scheduled themselves and their children for the summer, and were already anticipating being stressed by the amount of commitments everyone had made. They were beginning to wonder what they could let go of. They realized that based on the seeds that they had planted, they might very well be harvesting stress and exhaustion by the end of the summer, and they were not feeling good about that.

Summer is often a time when we can choose a slightly different rhythm, one that prioritizes down time and recreation. And so the most important question to ask ourselves when it comes to enjoying this summer is, “What activities (or non-activities) are truly re-creative for each of us?”  We, of course, will each have a different answer to that question. If filling up your summer with lots of scheduled activities is truly re-creative, than that is what you will want to do. If setting aside a few days so you can meet friends for coffee, or a walk in the park, or to work in your garden than make sure you schedule time for those things this summer.

Decide what is truly re-creative for you and then plant the seeds now to make sure those activities happen. Later you will be grateful that you took the time now to plant those seeds, as by the end of summer you will have a better chance of reaping a harvest of a renewed and re-created you.

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